INTO ADVENT

Andrew Biggs

As we approach the second half of December and the shops and businesses ramp up their Christmas advertising, we cannot miss the fact that Christmas is approaching. But before Christmas we have the period of Advent: a pre-Christmas Christian season that marks a period of waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus Christ, and the return of Jesus at the Second Coming.

Wikipedia says this:

The Latin word adventus is the translation of the Greek word parousia, commonly used to refer to the Second Coming of Christ. For Christians, the season of Advent anticipates the coming of Christ from three different perspectives. Philip H. Pfatteicher, formerly a professor at East Stroudsberg University, notes that "since the time of Bernard of Clairvaux (d.1153), Christians have spoken of the three comings of Christ: in the flesh in Bethlehem, in our hearts daily, and in glory at the end of time". The season offers the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, and to be alert for his Second Coming.

The danger as always at this time of year is that we become so busy and so focussed on Christmas that we miss out Advent altogether. But if we do that we miss out, not just on preparing for Christmas, but also on preparing our ‘hearts' for the coming of Jesus and on preparing to meet him again when the time comes.

So I urge you to consider how you will prepare your ‘hearts’ this Advent for the coming of Jesus. Perhaps follow the “Word in Time” daily bible reading available in the Prayer Handbook but also available online at https://www.methodist.org.uk/our-faith/the-bible/a-word-in-time/

There will be an advent group at the manse at 10am on the 4th, 11th and 18th December looking at Holy Habits.

To add to all our busyness this year we have a General Election on the 12th December - the first held in December since 1910! - which was the last election prior to the First World War. At that time there was a deadlock in parliament (sound familiar?) because the Liberal government could not get the House of Lords to pass their budget placing higher taxes on the wealthy. The election was called to get a mandate for the Parliament Act 1911 which would prevent the Lords blocking legislation in the future. In the event a Liberal, Labour, and Irish Nationalist coalition passed the legislation and the Lords gave way. It was also the last time a party other than Labour or Conservative won a majority of seats in the commons.

While I’m sure we are all pretty weary of the recent political machinations it is important that we use our vote.. Last Sunday we remembered those who lost their lives in war, fighting for our freedom to choose the government we have. While it might seem that often it is about choosing the lesser evil, we should remember their sacrifice and honour it by voting. As Christians we should consider which party offers the best chance to enact the values of the kingdom - of justice for the poor and the oppressed, of peace, of love for all. How do we best exercise our Christian stewardship in an imperfect world? The Joint Public Issues team has a web page which will offer advice: http://www.jointpublicissues.org.uk/general-election-2019

Blessings for Advent, Christmas and the New Year.

Andrew

And I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28:20

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